Russia Today is mocking CNN for its "blundered" reporting about a cyberattack directed at journalists in Moscow, and called it "another round of hysteria" by Western media.
CNN reported on Tuesday that a number of American journalists, including writers at the New York Times, had been targeted by hackers "thought to be working for Russian intelligence." The Times subsequently clarified that the attack had been limited to some of its employees in Moscow, while no other targets have thus far come to light.
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"While CNN was quick to present the reported cyberattack as a government-sponsored operation against some Western media, other 'victims' have not been named," the American bureau of the state-backed Russia Today said in an unsigned editorial Wednesday.
The authors added that the nature of the attack was ambiguous, and that it could have been a distributed denial of service (DDoS) attack aimed at bringing down websites. Such attacks are common, but initiated mostly by criminal groups or rogue hackers rather than state-based intelligence agencies. Russia Today has been hit especially hard by the attacks over the last month.
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"By design, a DDoS attack is not capable of 'breaching' anything, as it is directed at temporarily shutting down the bandwidth of a targeted website," authors wrote. "RT has experienced its share of massive cyberattacks, with some of the most powerful DDoS attacks happening this August. A particularly well-planned series of attacks saw RT's Internet provider and data centers in the U.S., Europe and Russia targeted."
The editorialists tied the latest report to accusations that Russia was behind high profile breaches of the Democratic National Committee and affiliated groups, and suggested that hype being contrived by the media was at odds with the official stance of the American intelligence community. "The media is yet to cite any actual evidence," they added. "In fact, the Obama administration has never publicly blamed the Russian government for that attack."
William Binney, a former NSA whistleblower, added his own criticism in a recent interview. "This is an [effort] to try to create a new Cold War in my view," Binney said. "It is like fear-mongering the entire public of the U.S. to believe that we need to have another Cold War because the Russians are the bad guys... But, before we do anything like that, we need to prove it, and they haven't done that."